ALEX Salmond's Alba have said the SNP and Scottish Greens' deal kicks independence into the "long grass".

Alba called for the other two Yes parties to commit to pursuing the independence mandate now and not wait until a future point.

A second independence referendum is the first listed priority in the deal. However no specific timetable is given for the vote, with the deal saying they have a commitment to hold it within the next five years, and within the first half of the parliamentary term if the Covid crisis has passed.

READ MORE: Indyref2 listed as first priority in SNP-Scottish Greens co-operation deal

Alba claimed the agreement announced today is one for "politicians and not for the people’s benefit". 

Under the terms of the deal the Greens will secure two members of the Scottish Government as well as two highly paid “special advisor” roles. 

The final deal will now be required to be approved by Green Party members on 28 August but will not be put to a vote of SNP members. 

In the run up to May’s Holyrood elections the Scottish Greens stated that they believed a referendum on independence should be held before 2026, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly stated that she wishes to hold a referendum once the pandemic is over.

READ MORE: Why are the SNP and Greens doing a deal and what is a co-operation agreement?

Alba are campaigning for more urgency on the constitutional question. They believe that for Scotland’s recovery to be in Scotland’s hands then independence must be secured as an immediate priority. 

Alba today argued that in a list of priorities the SNP and Greens wish to achieve from the agreement, independence has been sidelined.

They cited the parties' commitment to bring forward issues such as reform of the Gender Recognition Act within the first year of the parliamentary term while the parties gave no such timescale for indyref2.

The agreement stated they will attempt to secure an independence referendum within the term of the Parliament. 

Alba MP Neale Hanvey said: "Scotland needs independence now as an urgent priority. If we hold off on pursing the mandate for Scotland’s independence until the end of this parliament then the Covid recovery powers we need will remain in Boris Johnson’s hands. 

"Before the election the Greens said they wanted a referendum by 2026 and the SNP have failed to pursue the mandate gained in the Scottish Parliament elections. 

"Independence is the vital key to Scotland’s ambitions, this deal casts it as a complete and utter afterthought."

Alba MP Kenny MacAskill said: "Today’s coalition announcement is a deal for the priorities of politicians not the priorities of the people of Scotland.

"It is quite telling that the Greens seem to have prioritised securing paid special advisor roles over delivering Scottish independence as an immediate priority. Alba will continue to campaign for Scotland’s independence with the urgency it requires."